Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NJCon 2017, Round 1 Irish vs Greeks

A Headless Body Production

Location:97 Sunfield Ave, Edison NJ, 08837 
Event:NJ Con's Fire in the East  
Players: Phil Gardocki, playing the Feudal Irish 
               Jim Bisignani, Hellenistic Greek.

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side. 
It's the first round of the L'Art de la Guerre tournament at the 2017 NJ Con's Fire in the East convention.

I was going to run Anglo-Irish, in preparation for an upcoming team tournament in a couple of weeks, but when I went to check the address of this event, I discovered there were restrictions for this event and I had to come up with another list.

What to do.  I looked for fun lists, Palmyran, Parthian, Byzantine.  Good solid cavalry lists.  Then I looked at lists my newly painted barbarians could be used in, German, Gaul, Mithridatic, Thracian.  Exotic lists Indian and Burmese.  Then I did statistics on the last 66 battles.  I have them documented, what is my win loss ratio.

The results were depressing.

I am not really good at this game. 

I kind of suck.

My overall win/loss ratio is about 40/60.  My best ratio is Mithridatic, with 66% wins, second best is Anglo-Irish, at exactly 50/50.  I didn't want to run Mithridatic because it is complicated, and Anglo-Irish is out.  So, I reached way out of my comfort zone and settled on Feudal Irish (rimshot).  It has much going for it.  It is about as simple an army as you can run.  It has one tool, the 2HW.  So, when your only tool is a hammer, all your problems begin to look like nails.

The Forces Feudal Irish Commanders the vain and pox-marked maggot-pie Larry, Darryl, a yeasty unchin-snouted skainsmate, and the puking, knotty-pated, horn-beast Darryl.     
       4 Nobles, Elite, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW
       2 Galloglaich, Elite, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW
       11 Medium Swordsmen, 2HW
       6 Kerns, Light Infantry,  Javelin
Breakpoint 24.

Hellenistic Greek.  One Brilliant and 2 Competent commanders
6 Pikemen
4 Elite Heavy Spearmen
2 Heavy Cavalry
2 Light Cavalry, Javelin
4 Javelinmen
2 Light Infantry, Sling
2 Light Infantry bow
2 Light Infantry Javelin

Breakpoint 24

The Board:
The Feudal Irish lose the initiative and are compelled to attack in the plains.

Ancient Thrace.  A coastal zone, a plantation, a gully, a hill and a field.
  The Irish camp is a collection of pigs and cows tied up to some big rocks they found.
From left to right, there are LI with slings and javelins.  4 units of Thracians Peltasts, (Javelinmen) 6 Pikemen, and a contingent of cavalry.

While on the right, 4 units of Spartans.  Supported by 4 units of lights.
To meet this, is Darryl, with 5 units of Irish, Medium Swordsmen 2HW(3 in ambush), with two Kerns.  To his right is Larry with elite Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW.
And guarding the camp is Darryl with 6 more Irish.
Larry announces a general advance.  His forces double move forward.  Darryl, the puking knotty-pated horn-beast, not Darryl the yeasty unchin-snouted skainsmate, keeps pace.
Not wanting an engagement in the plantation, Darryl sends only his lights forward.  The idea here is to engage the center on even terms, and the Spartans with superior numbers.
The Greeks wish to commit their forces in an opposite manner.  The Spartans are held back, while the Thracians are aggressively pushed forward.
Turn 2:

An ambush is revealed and joins up with the rest of Darryl's Irish.  Now the Thracians do not have a numerical edge on their flank they expected.
Like two glaciers in the night, the forces, inextricably, closed together.

Turn 3:
Turn 4:

Contact!  The Thracians exit the plantation.  Darryl's Irish meet them with an overlap.  The results are in the Irish's favor. 
The center and right haven't engaged yet.  This is OK though.  As the left flank is looking favorable.  If the Thracians are defeated, then the Greek center risks a multitude of flank charges.

The Greek commander sees the risk and is playing conservative.

The dice turn in favor of the Thracians.  One Irish warband is destroyed, another damaged.  While the two disordered Thracians  hold their ground.

Greek spear vs Irish sword.  The Irish lose 5 out of 6 fights.

The Spartans were never lined up with the rest of the Greek line, and approach, but could not contact the Irish. 
Turn 5:

The lights are doing a number of charge and evades.  A Greek LI, Javelin is shot away.  Irish sword destroy a Thracian sword, then conform to line up. 

The Greek center is performing well.  Two Irish elite heavy swords are destroyed, 3 are damaged.
Darryl's Irish medium foot charge the Spartans.  The Spartan right most unit chastises and dismiss his foe in an amazing show of arms.  His Spartan brothers down the line however do not show the same skill.  Darryl, in a show of desperation, goes all in on his fight, and manages to cause an extra point of damage for his effort.

Another Thracian is defeated.  But even if Darryl wins this fight, his forces are wrecked.  Greek cavalry sees an opportunity and charges the last undamaged Irish medium sword.
Even with the support of the Greek Cavalry, a Hoplite is destroyed by the Boys from Stafford.
On the Irish right, 2 HW is doing it's job.  Two Spartan hoplites are destroyed in 2 bounds of combat.

Turn 6:
The game is getting tight.  The shellacking the Irish is taking in the center by their best forces seems to be balanced with wins on both flanks. 

The Spartan commander comes to the front to support his disordered Hoplite.  And is immediately killed!  His Hoplites are hopelessly scattered.  But can Darryl turn his forces around in time to effect the outcome in the center?

The Thracian line is penetrated, but still fights on.  They are near defeat, but even if they lose, Darryl will never get this line turned in time to effect the center.
4 out of 6 Irish heavy foot are destroyed.  The Greek center is also solid with only 1 unit destroyed, 1 disordered.

The last Spartan is hit in the flank, but skill wins out over daring, an their unit is undamaged.
The last Thracians fall.  Another Greek Horse unit commits to battle to keep the Irish center occupied. 
Another Irish Noble is destroyed.  Larry is down to one unit.
The last Spartan unit turns to face their opponents.  The luck of the Irish holds though, and delivers two hits to the Spartans.

At that point, the Greeks crawled across their break point of 24.  The Irish were at 18 of 24. 

What went wrong?  Other than bad die rolls in the center, I cannot say the Feudal Irish did anything wrong.  The skirmishers kept the Greek skirmishers at bay but largely avoided being defeated  by superior numbers.  This gave the heavy and mediums a numeric advantage on the edges.  2HW did its job, providing wins in case of ties, and boosting the cohesion hits half the time. 


  1. Phil,
    An interesting if also anachronistic account. Thanks for posting/sharing. Regarding your comment about how you get on with the rules, I can sympathize and empathize. I often (nearly always) struggle with remembering all the modifiers and situations that can crop up. Then again, perhaps I "shoot myself in the foot" as I tend toward larger games (800 points per side, for instance) or historical refights.

    Wondered about your caption re Turn 5, wherein an Irish unit conformed after melee. I understand that the phasing side can pursue (impetuous have no say in the matter) after a win, but I thought corner-to-corner contact was addressed in the next phase of the turn.

    Again, well written and well photographed. Good luck in the upcoming tournament. May the luck of the Feudal Irish be with you - or at least your dice.


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  3. You are right about conforming. Sometimes the pictures displayed may be off by a turn, or I don't remember correctly. Or as players we made a mistake. That conforming may have occurred at the bottom of the 4th. I try for accuracy. For example, I take a picture of a die representing a turn marker. But sometimes I forget to take it till later, or I get the wrong turn. In the end, my overriding concern is storytelling over accuracy. If I am not entertaining, then my audience won't return.